Chris Evans said the transition from playing Captain America to his new role of Buzz Lightyear in the upcoming Toy Story spin-off was “intimidating”.
The Hollywood star voices the beloved space ranger in Pixar’s new animated film Lightyear, which hits theaters on Friday.
While Toy Story featured the toy version of Buzz, the new film will explore the “real-life” hero who inspired the franchise’s character.
Evans, who starred as Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was celebrating his 41st birthday at the UK premiere of Lightyear in central London on Monday.
Reflecting on the shift from one classic character to another, he told the PA news agency that he found it “intimidating”.
He said: “Fortunately with Captain America, you kind of learn what it’s like to take on a role that people have high expectations and big shoes to fill.
“But more than anything, it’s an honor to be able to have the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible franchise.”
Evans said he initially found the role of Captain America scarier, as “there were so many people who had an idea of the character”.
He added: “I thought jumping this hurdle would be high enough, but now trying to fill these shoes is just as scary.”
The Toy Story animated film franchise began in 1995, telling the story of a cowboy doll named Woody who feels threatened when the young man who owns it, Andy, gets a new astronaut toy called Buzz Lightyear.
It became a box office success and was followed by three sequels in 1999, 2010, and 2019, with Tim Allen voicing Buzz in all four films.
Evans said he saw the first film as a child and that all four films had an “impact” on him.
Directed by Angus MacLane, the new film also stars Taika Waititi and Keke Palmer.
New Zealand filmmaker and actor Waititi, who voices fellow space explorer Mo Morrison in the film, told PA that knowing Evans would be starring was a “big thing” that attracted him to the project, “because we’re friends and I think he’s excellent. and it can load a movie like this”.
Waititi said that a role in such a popular franchise made him “a little” nervous, but that was made easier by knowing that Pixar was in charge, as it worked on every Toy Story movie.
British astronaut Tim Peake, who was a consultant on the film, said teaching children and young people about space is “really important” as there are many developments on the horizon.
He told PA: “We’re going to go back to the moon in the next two or three years, and then to Mars right after that, and people will start seeing humans walking again, on the surface of the moon, how exciting.
“So the Lightyear movie really emphasizes that space ranger aspect – we’ve been seeing astronauts in low Earth orbit for so many years, but we’re going out once again.
“So it’s a really inspiring film, and young people watching it might think, ‘Wow, this is what I’m going to do when I grow up.’
Pixar’s Lightyear hits theaters on June 17.